Chinese, African scholars stress digital economy, climate change and BRI cooperation among opportunities in new era
Published: Dec 02, 2021 11:55 PM
China Africa Photo: Xinhua

China Africa Photo: Xinhua

China-Africa cooperation has rich opportunities in new era despite of challenges and the two sides should enhance the scope of dialogue and uphold multilateralism to push forward sustainable and high-quality cooperation, scholars said on Thursday at an international conference held by the China-Africa Institute (CAI), both in person and online.

The conference was held at a time when both sides have further united to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and envision long-term plans on digital and green economy and climate change cooperation amid the 21st anniversary of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). 

Li Xinfeng, CAI's Executive President and research fellow, chaired the conference and delivered a speech on Thursday. Li said the FOCAC is the largest and most successful multilateral cooperation mechanism among developing countries.

The FOCAC has consolidated the everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship with sincere friendship, equality, mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and enriched China-Africa partnership in the new era, Li said. 

In her address to the conference, Ambassador of Cabo Verde to China, Tania S.Y. Romualdo highlighted the consistency and cohesion of China-Africa communications and cooperation over the past years. The ambassador said bilateral cooperation has a solid foundation, citing the restoration of People's Republic of China's lawful seat at the UN 50 years ago with a strong support from African countries. 

In addition to Chinese support in building of roads, railways, schools and sports venues, Chinese investment and projects that helped local employment, Romualdo stressed the everlasting solidarity the two sides achieved since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

She appreciated China's assistance to the continent's fight against the coronavirus, including the pledge of an additional 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa made by Chinese top leader at the opening of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC via video link on Monday. 

Speakers from China and African countries had extensive discussions on boosting high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Africa cooperation on climate change and the fight against COVID-19. 

Yang Baorong, director of the division of economy at the CAI, criticized Western stigmatization of China-Africa infrastructure cooperation and the financing of related projects. "Africans have the right to decide what is beneficial for them," Yang said. 

David Monyae, Director and professor of the Africa-China Research Center of University of Johannesburg, mentioned that both sides should grasp the opportunities provided by the digital economy and jointly push forward for a fair, equal and just international order. 

"China and Africa could inject new energy and make sure Africa can play a more crucial role in international organizations and global governance, as the current order is dominated by the rich countries in the Global North," Monyae said. 

Keynote speaker Tang Xiaoyang, from Tsinghua University, also pointed out China and Africa now are having a bigger vision with the "2035 vision for China-Africa cooperation." The macro level vision charters the path with specific three-year plans on cooperation on  health, poverty alleviation and assistance to farmers, trade promotion, investment drive, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security. 

Peter Kagwanja, President and Chief Executive of the Africa Policy Institute of Kenya, said China and Africa have successfully developed a win-win relationship, "walking far by walking together." 

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